SDA omega-3: The future of trans-fat-free margarine?

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

SDA omega-3: The future of trans-fat-free margarine?

Related tags Fatty acids Fatty acid Omega-3 fatty acid

Stearidonic acid (SDA) soybean oil may offer a trans-fat-free base for margarine, while simultaneously boosting omega-3 intakes, suggests new data.

The SDA-margarine had a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of 1.1, considered much more desirable for the health of consumers, report scientists from the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia.

“This margarine was comparable to commercial margarine in terms of melting temperature, saturated fatty acids, unsaturated fatty acids, and sensory properties,”​ they wrote in the Journal of Food Science​.

“As high intake of trans fatty acids is correlated with increased risk of several chronic diseases and omega-3 fatty acids are positively associated with prevention of cardiovascular diseases and cancer, the margarine produced in this research can be a suitable alternative to commercial margarines.”


Sourcing omega-3 fatty acids from plants has been a focus for numerous biotech companies over recent years. Solae and Monsanto teamed up in 2007 to commercialize the latter's soybean variety developed specially to be rich in SDA. The rate of conversion of SDA to the longer chain omega-3 EPA is understood to be comparatively efficient - between 5.5:1 and 6:1.

The ingredient attained GRAS status (generally recognized as safe) in 2009.

The SDA soybean oil used in the new study was provided by Monsanto Co. The study was funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Study details

Garima Pande, Casimir Akoh, and Robert Shewfelt from The University of Georgia formulated margarine using SDA soybean oil and high-stearate soybean oil catalyzed by the enzyme Lipozyme TLIM lipase (Novozymes North America), and compared with a commercial margarine.

Both margarines had similar saturated and unsaturated fatty acids levels, they said, and the sensory properties were also similar. However, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio was much lower in the SDA margarine (1.1) than the commercial margarine (5.8).

In addition, the SDA margarine contained no trans fats.

“The current research increases the food applications of stearidonic acid (SDA) soybean oil,” ​wrote the researchers.

Source: Journal of Food Science
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02935.x
“Production of trans-Free Margarine with Stearidonic Acid Soybean and High-Stearate Soybean Oils-Based Structured Lipid”
Authors: G. Pande, C.C. Akoh, R.L. Shewfelt 

Related topics R&D

Related news

Follow us


View more